SHARING thoughts for fallen comrades on a windswept hill in the Falkland Islands was one moment that touched Jules George’s heart.
The 45-year-old painter was travelling aboard HMS Argyll on a mission to depict navy life at sea.
‘We got into sea boats and went ashore near where HMS Coventry went down,’ Jules remembered.
‘We hiked up to the memorial for the ship and a petty officer recounted the events of that day, while the other guys tidied it up, polished the brass and laid a wreath.
‘Afterwards in silence we shared a bottle of port in that desolate place – it was a very moving occasion and you could almost see the tears in fully-grown men’s eyes.’
Coventry was sunk with the loss of 19 lives in the 1982 Falklands War.
Jules shared this and other memories during a talk at the Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Dockyard.
The museum is now hosting 88 of Jules’s artworks, the fruits of a four-year project working with the Royal Navy.
Jules, who grew up in Winchester and now lives in Suffolk, said: ‘It all started, as good things sometimes do, over a couple of beers with a friend of mine who was in the navy.
‘It occurred to us that nobody as an artist had gone out and covered the Royal Navy for many years in any depth.’
Jules travelled with HMS Argyll, a Type 23 frigate, to the Gulf and the Falklands and also went to sea with the submarine, HMS Tireless.
His artworks range from drawings hastily scribbled amid crashing seas, to a grand canvass of a boarding sequence by Royal Marines.
Curator Victoria Ingles said of the artworks: ‘They have a very different, and much more personal feel to the media shots that we usually see of navy life. I’m struck by the artworks showing the machinery spaces.
‘It’s an area that needn’t be beautiful but somehow he’s transformed them into spaces that are quite intriguing and mysterious.’
The exhibition will run until Saturday, March 8. The works are for sale and cost from £300 to £8,000.